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University of Cambridge to Conduct Study Whether Robots Will Exterminate Humanity

University of Cambridge to Conduct Study Whether Robots Will Exterminate Humanity

The Cambridge Project for Existential Risk

Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. Such dangers have been suggested from progress in AI, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme effects of anthropogenic climate change. The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake. (For a brief introduction to the issues in the case of AI, with links to further reading, see this recent online article by Huw Price and Jaan Tallinn.)

The Cambridge Project for Existential Risk — a joint initiative between a philosopher, a scientist, and a software entrepreneur — begins with the conviction that these issues require a great deal more scientific investigation than they presently receive. Our aim is to establish within the University of Cambridge a multidisciplinary research centre dedicated to the study and mitigation of risks of this kind. We are convinced that there is nowhere on the planet better suited to house such a centre. Our goal is to steer a small fraction of Cambridge's great intellectual resources, and of the reputation built on its past and present scientific pre-eminence, to the task of ensuring that our own species has a long-term future. (In the process, we hope to make it a little more certain that we humans will be around to celebrate the University's own millenium, now less than two centuries hence.)

We will be developing a prospectus for a Cambridge-based Centre for the Study of Existential Risk in coming months, and welcome enquiries and offers of support.

HP, MJR & JT
April 2012

http://cser.org/



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